Series Preview- M’s @ Rays 5/14-5/16

These two teams just played, so I won’t do a big preview here.  Since Tampa swept the Mariners in Seattle, they’ve been perfect gamed (is that right?) but are still leading baseball with a 24-10 record.  Good news is they’re at home, where they have 6 of their losses and a worse winning percentage than they do on the road.  I doubt it will matter.

The Mariners are playing slightly better, but don’t have many wins to show for it.  In my mind, it’s become crystal clear that Chone Figgins is the key to the season, much like we thought at the start of the year.  If he starts hitting enough to drive in Ichiro and the bottom of the order on occasion, that brings in runs and puts his OBP up closer to .400.  If he and Ichiro are getting on base 40% of the time (really more if you account the errors they tend to force) it’s going to be hard for this team not to score more runs.  If/when Figgins starts hitting, this offense will take off, relatively speaking.  I just hope it’s when and not if, and the when is fairly soon.  If he stays this bad all year, it’s going to take the rest of the team hitting at a pretty high level, which means the season’s over.

Pitching Match-ups

Friday:  Doug Fister vs. Wade Davis

Saturday: Jason Vargas vs. James Shields

Sunday:  Cliff Lee vs. Matt Garza

Davis is the only guy we didn’t see in the last series.  He’s another young perennial top prospect, but I don’t honestly know a ton about him.  I think I picked him in our preview as AL Rookie of the Year, and he seems like a groundballer type, but don’t quote me on that.  He has a 3.18 ERA so far this year, but his xFIP is 4.81, so there’s some perceived luck in there.  We’ll see.  He’ll probably shut us down. 

Thinking positively, we have our three best starters going (by current numbers), and… Michael Saunders!!!  I always knew that guy was the answer.  Good chance he wins the Triple Crown, and if he hadn’t missed the Kentucky Derby already, he’d probably win two Triple Crowns.  On another note, there’s a cool dog outside my window.  Looks kind of like an Arctic Fox!

Go Mariners!  Believe big!

-Matthew

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